According to a not too recent Weekend Edition on NPR, Kenyans are crazy about country music.
They enjoy songs from the 70s and 80s best, and are particularly fond of Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.
As much as you’re apt to hear Patsy Cline, Crystal Gayle and Vince Gill playing in the local bars,
Kenyans don’t follow U.S. country singers exclusively.
“My Land is Kenya,” by Nairobi-born folk artist Roger Whittaker, makes even the young hip-hop crowd stand a little bit taller. (If you take time to watch and listen to the video, you’ll note that his signature whistling skills come through loud and clear.)
The song isn’t in danger of becoming a hit in my house anytime soon,
but it does have some nice lines:
“My land is Kenya, so warm and wild and green.
You’ll always stay with me here in my heart.
My land is Kenya, right from your highlands to the sea.
You’ll always stay with me here in my heart, here in my heart.”
(Whittaker. Roger Whittaker in Kenya: A Musical Safari, 1982)
Try not to compare it to Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land,” and just think of it as a musical warmup to today’s rather boring topic.
My Land is Kenya
and it’s covered with more than savanna grasslands.
While providing habitats for animals and livelihoods for humans, forests also offer watershed protection, prevent soil erosion and mitigate climate change.
Sadly, Kenya is still allowing its forests to disappear.
From 1990 to 2015, forest cover declined by 25%.
Agricultural cropland refers to that share of land suited for crops where there is no need to replant after harvest (e.g. coffee, rubber, fruit trees, etc.). Cropland has increased exponentially in the last 25 years.
The Kenyan wetlands are resources of great economic, cultural and scientific value.
Wetlands provide critical habitats for a wide range of flora and fauna, including a large number of aquatic plants, resident and migratory birds, fish, and herbivores.
Wetlands are areas of great scenic beauty. They are a tourist attraction, form important recreation sites for game and birds watching, swimming, photography and sailing.
They’re important sources of water for human consumption, agriculture and the watering of livestock. They recharge wells and springs that are often the only source of water to some rural communities.
Savanna grasslands are found where rainfall between 20-50 inches is concentrated into a few months.
Kenya’s rainy season is March-May and September–October, with long periods of drought in between.
Once it rains in March, the grasses grow very rapidly, sometimes as much as an inch a day. Lots of animals are born at this time. In a good rainy season, there’s plenty of food for animals like the antelope, and mothers will have plenty of milk for their young.
In Kenya there are only three incorporated cities but there are numerous municipalities and towns with significant urban populations.
NAIROBI, THE CAPITAL CITY
Nairobi, the capital city of the Republic has grown from a simple Uganda Railway construction camp to a modern center of commercial, financial, manufacturing and tourist destination in eastern Africa.
It replaced Mombasa as Kenya’s capital in 1907 and became a city in 1950. Today, the city population stands at about 4 million. Both the Great North Road (Cairo to Cape Town) and the Trans-African Highway (Mombasa to Lagos) pass through the city.
Mombasa is the second largest city in the country, with a population of about 600,000. It is the official gateway to the country by sea. It has a history dating back to more than 2,000 years, when the Persians, Arabs, Greeks and Romans visited the East African Coast and carried out trade between the Coast and the Mediterranean Lands.
It is built on what was formerly an island, separated from the mainland by a narrow channel until a causeway was built at the beginning of this century, connecting the island with the mainland. Tourists come to Mombasa Island to enjoy its calm beauty, once described by Winston Churchill (1908) as “alluring and delicious”.